* This report is a journalistic collaboration between Mongabay Latam and GK from Ecuador. Amid the swirling mix of fresh and salt water in the Gulf of Guayaquil live groups of bottlenose dolphins, perhaps the best-known cetacean species in the world and known locally as bufeos. On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the conservation status of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is deemed of least concern globally. But, according to recent research, unless things change, they could soon disappear from the shores of Ecuador, which shares the Gulf of Guayaquil with Peru. Two populations of the species live in the western Gulf of Guayaquil, named Posorja and El Morro after nearby human communities. They could be wiped out in less than a century, according to marine biologists Fernando Félix and Santiago Burneo. Along with their colleagues at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), the scientists have observed a steep drop in the number of bottlenose dolphins in these areas over the past decade. Earlier research shows the population today is half of what it was in the early 1990s, and Félix and Burneo report in a study published Sept. 3 in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science that the species could ultimately disappear from the gulf in the next few decades. The bottlenose dolphins that live in the Gulf of Guayaquil are genetically unique compared to other groups of the same species living elsewhere. Félix said they’re more or less geographically isolated from other populations because the gulf…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer